The trouble with bloggingPosted: February 7, 2005
It might sound odd to write a piece for a blog that in effect says blogging isn’t that great but that’s exactly what I need to do. I’ve recently been spending a lot of time on blogs and on the Internet researching the blogging phenomena. Blogging is of course still in its infancy. Tools to create blogs are now easily available. Tools to find blogs are starting to appear, though they’re far from great. Indeed the technology around blogging is not my beef. My beef is with the content and unreliable nature of that content. First there is the frequency issue. Most blogs don’t get updated that frequently, mainly because most blogs are written by real people with real lives and they simply don’t have time to keep them populated with gripping content. Second, there is the reliability of the content. Blogging’s greatest asset is its weakness. There is no policing of the content which means anyone can write pretty much what they want and it’s unlikely there’ll be any problem even if they’ve made some huge factual error. If you translated these issues and put them into the traditional publishing world, you’d have chaos. Imagine a magazine that came out when its editor felt like it. Imagine that same magazine never checked its facts and went simply from memory. It frankly wouldn’t work and any magazine that tried to run that way would either die a natural death or be litigated out of existence. The only reason this isn’t yet a major issue for blogs is that people put out the content for free. Of course if it’s free then you can argue you get what you pay for. But of course we all know that we need blogging not to be second rate journalism but liberated journalism. We want it to provide a fresh perspective and to create dynamic new communities (I’m not altogether sure I know what a dynamic new community is btw – but it sounds good). I truly think some blogs are doing this but they are the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps that’s the price we have to pay. Perhaps those of us who want to hang out in the blogsphere need to accept that there will be a ton of poor blogs (this one included) and a few great ones. My worry with this situation is that sadly under these circumstances we will only attract the truly dedicated to our world. The rest will take the easy route and sign up for MyYahoo as their trusted source for content, and who’d really blame them.